THE STORY OF "HYPERTENSIVE"
There is no silence like the silence of space. Have you ever stood at a canyon’s rim? If you are lucky — and early — enough, you just may have the entire place to yourself. If so, all you will hear is… nothing. Absolutely nothing. in fact, it will be so quiet that the constant drumbeat of noise in our own heads will overwhelm you, for a minute or two, before it, too, fades. And then, there is silence. Nothing but you and the place. It is at that point, when any possible distraction is eliminated, that we start to appreciate what’s right in front of us. It is in silence that we start to feel, the entire body coming to a halt, unable to do anything but experience.
After I visited this place, I had a conversation with an elder man who had come to these canyons his whole life. He and I talked about the desperate chase of bucket lists, and how this area alone provides so many unseen opportunities that they could fill many lifetimes of exploration. And then he said something that really struck a cord with me: “Whenever I visit these canyons, I have this feeling of being hypertensive, of not knowing where to look first.”
I discovered something about this place, this image, in that conversation. Because when I look at it, all I can remember is how at peace I felt, how, unlike in many times during my everyday life, I actually did know where to look first. No one was pulling me in a dozen different directions at the same time. There was this brief moment of pure clarity. All I remember is how silent everything was, within my head, and out. What I see now, when I look at this piece, is a reminder to slow down, to block out the noise, and to focus on what’s right in front of us. If you are just lucky enough, it might be a vast, beautiful canyon filled with early morning sunlight. But whatever it is, what’s truly important is to make room for some silence in our lives.
OPEN EDITION | Canyonlands National Park, UT